Music for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost — August 9, 2020

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind – Text: John Whittier (1807-1892). Music: C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1918).


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John Greenleaf Whittier was born near Haverhill, Massachusetts, on December 17, 1807. His Quaker parents bequeathed to him a breadth of simplicity, a love of truth and peace, and a boundless faith in the goodness of God. His early education was primitive, but after acquiring a copy of the poems of Robert Burns at the age of 14, he set to writing his own, and never looked back. He became a journalist and newspaper editor, sacrificing much and enduring all manner of abuse because of his lifelong dedication to ending the scourge of slavery. His sixty years of writing yielded over 50 hymns, all of them centos from his poems. In his words, “A good hymn is the best use to which poetry can be devoted.” Dear Lord and Father of Mankind is cast as a prayer which begins with forgiveness, and passes through invitation, petition, to the acceptance of the peace of God. The final verse draws on the striking imagery provided by the story of Elijah in today’s Old Testament lesson.


The tune REPTON is taken from the oratorio Judith, composed by Charles Hubert Parry in 1888. There was “no side of musical life in England which was not the better and nobler because he had lived.” So wrote Sir W. H. Hadow about his friend, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. In him the English choral tradition, virtually dormant for two centuries following Henry Purcell, awakened with new energy. A melodious, strong unison tune, REPTON has now become the most popular tune for Whittier’s words.


Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives thy service find,
In deeper reverence praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still small voice of calm!


In te Domine speravi à8 – Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1555-1612)


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Giovanni Gabrieli, an Italian composer and organist, was one of the most influential musicians of his time. He represents the culmination of the style of the Venetian School, at the time of the shift from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.


Giovanni was probably born in Venice and likely studied with his uncle, the composer Andrea Gabrieli. He became the principal organist and composer at the church of San Marco in Venice, where his work made him one of the most noted composers in Europe. He used the church’s unusual layout to create striking spatial effects. The vogue which began with his influential volume Sacrae symphoniae (1597), from which this piece is taken, was such that composers from all over Europe, especially from Germany, went to Venice to study.


In te Domine speravi non confundar in aeternum,
in iustitia tua libera me: inclina ad me aurem tuam, accelera ut eruas me. Esto mihi in Deum protectorem et in domum refugium ut salvum me facias.


In thee Lord have I put my trust: let me never be confounded,
but deliver me in thy righteousness: incline thine ear unto me, haste to deliver me.

Be thou my stronghold, my God in which I may find a house of refuge to save me.

Gerald Harder